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What is Classed As a Dispute with Neighbours?

We will always hope to get on with our neighbours, but unfortunately, for some, this is not the reality. 

In our experience, there are many different reasons why neighbours may not see eye to eye, some of the most common being related to noise, boundary disputes and parking issues. In some cases, these problems can lead to a great deal of distress and frustration on one or both sides. 

In this blog post, we will explore common neighbour disputes in more detail, the impact neighbour disputes can have on individuals and families and the various routes you can take to attempt to resolve a neighbour dispute. 

Defining a neighbour dispute 

In essence, a neighbour dispute is where two or more neighbours disagree about something to the point where it becomes a source of distress and frustration. And, experiencing a dispute with a neighbour is far more common than you may think. 

A recent survey conducted by We Buy Any Home revealed that 60% of Brits have experienced a dispute with their neighbour, or felt negatively towards them, with 16% admitting this has happened ‘many times.’ These findings highlight the fact there is a public need to know the correct procedures to explore if you find yourself in this position; currently, or in the future. 

What are the most common types of neighbour disputes?

Based on information from the Metropolitan Police and the We Buy Any Home research, the most common neighbour disputes are:

  • Loud noise, such as music or barking dogs
  • Parking
  • Property boundaries and responsibilities
  • Overgrowing trees and hedges
  • Misbehaviour in communal areas 
  • Invading others’ privacy, such as CCTV cameras. 

This is not an exhaustive list, and there may be many other actions or behaviours that cause a problem between neighbours. However, it is important to consider that if a neighbour is causing distress or frustration in any way, it can be deemed as a dispute. 

What impact can neighbour disputes have on households?

If a dispute with a neighbour is not resolved quickly and it is, or becomes, a serious issue, this can have an incredibly negative impact on quality of life. 

In some cases it can make individuals feel isolated or threatened, or generally down. It can mean that those involved do not want to participate in their local community, or feel their usual day to day behaviour has to change to accommodate the issues surrounding the dispute. 

It can also become problematic if there are children involved, as they may need to be kept away from neighbours, for example if there is a perceived threat around verbal abuse. It is important to seek help from the Police if you deem there is any threat to yourself or your children.

How can neighbour disputes be resolved? 

There are various steps you can take to attempt to resolve a neighbour dispute. Below we have highlighted these, and explained in what circumstances they are most relevant. 

  • Talk to your neighbour directly about your concerns. This is likely to be the best option when a problem first arises, to attempt to resolve it quickly without any lasting negative feelings. 
  • If living in rented or council accommodation and you do not feel comfortable speaking with your neighbour or you have tried and failed, you may wish to speak to the landlord or housing association about the issue.
  • Call the police. The police should be utilised when there is evidence of threatening behaviour, harassment of any kind, or you believe they may be breaking the law. 
  • Take legal action. This is the most severe option, however if all else fails, it may become a necessity. You can employ the expertise of a neighbour disputes lawyer, who will help you resolve the issue through the courts. 

Speaking to your local council 

If your dispute is focused around noise, dust, a build up of rubbish, smoke, fumes, gas or anything else that is deemed a health hazard, you are able to notify your local council and request a resolution. 

This option, however, should only be utilised if you have already attempted to settle the issue through speaking with your neighbour. 

Can I move house with an ongoing neighbour dispute? 

It is possible to move house with an ongoing neighbour dispute, however it is in your interest to resolve this before you put your house on the market.  You will almost certainly need to disclose details of any active disputes to potential buyers, and if not successfully dealt with, it could have implications on your house sale. If you fail to disclose an ongoing dispute the person buying your property could allege that you have committed a misrepresentation for which you could be liable to pay financial compensation. 

How can Eric Robinson Solicitors help with neighbour disputes? 

If you feel the only way to resolve your neighbour dispute is through legal action, Eric Robinson Solicitors is happy to assist you. Our team of solicitors is highly experienced in offering specialist advice to help resolve neighbour and boundary-related issues. The most common issues we deal with are: 

  • Rights of way
  • Boundary disputes
  • Access to neighbouring land
  • Encroachment onto your land
  • Party Wall issues where building works on neighbouring land or attached buildings are potentially interfering with your land and buildings.
  • Adverse possession (‘squatters rights’) claims
  • Parking disputes 
  • Blocked access disputes

If you are in a position where an ongoing disagreement is affecting your quality of life and you wish to resolve it effectively, please feel free to get in contact with one of our branches to discuss your requirements and find out more about how we can help. 

Eric Robinson has solicitors offices located in Southampton (Hedge End & Bitterne), Winchester, London (Richmond), Chandlers Ford and Lymington.

We also offer dispute resolution across a variety of other categories, including (but not limited to) commercial and residential property conflicts. See our dedicated disputes solicitors page for more information.